Top 4 NHL Teams To Watch In 2016/17

Top 4 NHL Teams To Watch In 2016/17

A few teams to keep your eye out for

The NHL season is upon us once again. It is the most wonderful time of year and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this season. We saw the Pittsburgh Penguins have an incredible stretch of great hockey last year eventually enabling them to hoist the Stanley Cup. We also saw no Canadian team compete in the playoffs last year. Look for that to change this year as America's top hat has a load of talent on their respective rosters.

1. Calgary Flames

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Calgary is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NHL. People seem to forget that 2 years ago they won a playoff series and were one of the hottest teams. They had an off year in 2015/16 and did not even get to the postseason. They have one of the best young cores and they just locked up Johnny Gaudreau for 6 more years. Look for them to contend for a playoff spot this year.

2. Edmonton Oilers

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The hockey world was shocked when the Oilers traded away former first rounder Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils. In doing this, they received some veteran leadership and some more size to their team. Connor McDavid was recently named captain, making him the youngest captain in NHL history. They also signed Milan Lucic giving them some scoring depth and physical presence. They may be a year or 2 away, but I expect them to have a turn-around season.

3. Chicago Blackhawks

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The Chicago Blackhawks are going to be a very interesting team to watch this year. They had to get rid of some players in order to not exceed cap space. This means new roles for younger players to play in. It will be interesting to see how these new guys will be able to fit into Coach Q's system.

4. Nashville Predators

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Nashville made a huge splash by swapping Shea Weber for PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. To me, it seems like a very even trade but maybe the Preds know something I don't. They beat the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs last year and gave the Sharks a run for their money. I expect them to be back in the playoffs this year.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Colts Land Frank Reich As Next Head Coach

A successful career returns to its coaching origins.

After a rather interesting offseason spent searching for Chuck Pagano’s replacement, the Indianapolis Colts have finally found their new head coach in Frank Reich, inking him to a five-year deal.

Reich spent the 2016-17 seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles and won Super Bowl LII with the team before returning to the Colts where his professional coaching career began.

"Frank has all the ingredients of a successful head coach: intelligence, innovation, character, organizational and leadership skills, and a commanding presence. He also has a stellar reputation, and his myriad of life experiences and the people he has worked with make him the perfect fit for us and our fans. I feel extremely fortunate and could not be more excited for Colts Nation and the future of our franchise,” said Colts’ owner and Ceo Jim Irsay.

The hiring of Frank Reich leaves the Eagles in a tough spot, though, as they not only have to hire a new quarterbacks coach since John DeFilippo became the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator, but they now have to look for a new offensive coordinator, as well.

On the contrary, Reich’s career move puts the Colts in a great position to have a better season in 2018 than they did this past year, finishing at 4-12. The decision to hire Reich could be crucial to the Colts’ 2018 season as QB Andrew Luck, who played just 22 games in the last three NFL seasons, is still rehabbing from a big shoulder injury that sidelined him for the entire 2017 season, and QB Jacoby Brissett will look to shake off his inexperience as an NFL starter.

Colts GM Chris Ballard spoke on his decision to hire Reich, saying:

“Frank is a leader of men who will demand excellence from our players on and off the field. I look forward to working with Frank to deliver a championship-caliber team to the city of Indianapolis.”

Mr. Reich, who has racked up more than a quarter-century of experience playing at and coaching the quarterback position, will have his hands full immediately with finding a solution to the Colts’ quarterback dilemma but, as his past two years in Philadelphia has shown, he is more than capable of molding young quarterbacks into MVP-winning players and humble leaders in the locker room.

"Frank is a tremendous coach and very deserving of this opportunity. He was a valuable member of our staff, and we have all benefited from working with him over the last two years," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said in a statement. "As good as he is as a leader and teacher, he's an even better person. We could not be more excited for him as he takes this next step in his career, and we wish him and his family all the best."

Having worked with quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, Frank Reich has now tasked himself with the challenge of developing yet another set of young, talented quarterbacks while being responsible for an entire team this time.

As a South Philadelphia native and die-hard Eagles fan, it has been difficult (to say the least) seeing you go, Mr. Reich, but you deserve this opportunity, and I wish you the best of luck in Indianapolis.

Thank you for your time here in Philadelphia and for all the work you have put in to give my city our first Super Bowl championship. You will forever be a beloved legend in the City of Brotherly Love.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Philly Sports Fans Are The Best, No One Likes Us And We Don't Care

I will never be embarrassed to call myself a Philadelphia sports fan.

Rocky Balboa. Cheesesteaks. The Liberty Bell. Broad Street.

And of course, a passion for its sports teams.

There are all terms that describe the city of Philadelphia.

In light of the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl title, I thought it was only fitting to comprise a list of why I love being a Philadelphia sports fan, and also why I consider it an honor and privilege to have grown up cheering on Philadelphia sports teams.

While at times it can be painful to claim yourself to be a fan of the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles or Sixers, it certainly all pays off when one of the beloved teams wins a championship.

Now, if you only allow what the media describes us as to contribute to your opinion of us, you must think we are truly scum of the earth. But today I am here to tell you what the media fails to tell you, and why Philadelphia sports fans are the best.

1. Philly fans travel... far.

Although most Philadelphia fans are found in Pennsylvania, you can find Philly sports fans almost anywhere. Whether it is simply traveling up to New York to watch a Phillies vs. Mets game, or even an Eagles vs. Chargers game in Los Angeles. It is not uncommon to see more of our teams' colors in the opposing team's arena or stadium.To further prove our dedication to our teams, on February 11, an Eagles chant broke out at a Flyers vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights game in Las Vegas. Philly fans show up no matter how far or wide for their teams and show their support.

2. Our players love playing here.

Our players love it here: it is a fact. Whether they are drafted here, get traded here, etc., players praise Philly fans for their unwavering passion and for pushing them to be better players. Our players never want to leave Philly. When they get traded, they ramble about how much they will miss it here, what an amazing city it is to play in, etc.

We show up to games and we cheer on our teams, and that's as much as a player can ask for. When a player claims that the team 'couldn't have done it without the fans,' they truly mean it. It is not a cliche when a Philly player utters this statement. The players love the fans, and the fans love the players.

3. The passion our fans have is unbeatable.

If there is one thing you can never question Philly fans on, it's their passion for their city and their teams. And although I hate to admit it, it is few and far between when our teams win championships, so when we do, the city goes crazy. As I'm writing this, I find it extremely difficult to truly put into the words the passion Philly fans possess for their sports teams. But it is certainly no secret how passionate we are when it comes to our sports.

Philly fans are notorious for being the most dedicated in sports; we have really gained ourselves a reputation over the years. And do not let the media fool you into thinking that we are simply just 'the fans who threw snowballs at Santa Claus,' because first of all, that was fifty years ago, and second of all, the Santa was drunk and he deserved it. Sorry.

4. Our city and our teams are enriched in history.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and of our entire nation. And because of this, our teams are enriched in the history as well. The Phillies were established in 1883, the Eagles in 1933, the 76ers in 1946, and the Flyers in 1967. We have long histories filled with loss, heartbreak, disappointment, but also amazing and unforgettable moments that make being a fan worthwhile.

The cliches that the city of Philadelphia is defined by also shine through our teams. The Phillies have a liberty bell that lights up and 'rings' every time a player gets a home run, the "Rocky" theme song can be heard at almost any team's home game, and you can get a cheesesteak or Chickie's and Pete's crab fries at Citizens Bank Park, The Linc, or the Wells Fargo Center. Although we are aware we are not perfect, we love our city and its traditions as much as anyone.

5. We appreciate every one.

By this statement, I mean that we appreciate everyone on the team, not just the star players. We believe that everyone is an asset. Better yet — if you win a championship here — your name will forever live in infamy, whether you were the top player or spent most of the time on the bench. For example, a player I will always remember is Geoff Jenkins who was on the Phillies in 2008. He didn't even play every day, he was only a utility player.

Yet, I will never forget him because of the role he played in the 2008 World Series — his lead-off double in the continuation of Game 5 is one that will live in the hearts of Philly fans forever and ever because this ended up being the initial go-ahead run. The Phillies won the game 4-3, thus winning the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays and bringing home a championship to Philadelphia for the first time in 25 years.

6. We NEVER forget.

Since history is such a vital aspect to our teams, we value the notion of never forgetting, or in other words, always remembering. Similar to the above, because we appreciate everyone, we never forget what you brought to the team. But on the other hand, we also never forget if you smeared Philadelphia or its fans at any point in your career. When a player speaks negatively about Philly, they should be expecting boos the next time they step foot on our home field, court, or ice. Not only do we not forget, we don't let you forget either.

7. We KNOW our stuff!

Never question the knowledge of Philadelphia sports fans. We pride ourselves on our sports smarts. Knowing your sports trivia is pretty much common knowledge here. It is not unlikely to find a Philadelphia fan that can recite stats for a specific player, the score of a game from weeks, months, or even years ago. We show our appreciation, we never forget, and as a result, we KNOW our stuff. Fair-weather fans and bandwagon jumpers are unacceptable; you either bleed the teams' colors or you can get lost. You live and breathe by the team, it's just the way it is.

I will never be embarrassed to call myself a Philadelphia sports fan; I've even theorized over the years that everyone is just jealous of Philly fans' passion and their dedication as a fan base. Of course, it sucks when your favorite teams lose, but it just makes it that much sweeter when you do win. Being a Philly sports fan has taught me many things such as patience, dedication, and appreciation.

In fact, it is because of the enthusiasm from Philadelphia fans and the enriched history of its teams that has inspired me to pursue a career in Sports Media. No matter the number of losses our teams accumulate, the negative portrayal from the media, or years we go without a championship, I would not trade growing up in the suburbs of Philly and being a fan of these teams for anything in the world. In conclusion, I'll let Eagles' center Jason Kelce's words from the Eagles' championship parade sum this up: "no one likes us and we don't care!"

Cover Image Credit: Visit Philly / Instagram

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